Why Nintendo Should Become the Next Sega

sonicmario

What I’m about to say might be deemed blasphemous, but hear me out: Nintendo should make moves to become a third party developer for other systems and abandon the console race.  Why, why would I say something so craaazy?

Let’s face it, the Wii U just isn’t gathering the sales or accolades that Nintendo consoles are known for. It only sold 57,000 units in the U.S. within 2 months of launch, as compared to the  435,000 Wiis sold in the same amount of time. They had to cut back sale projections from 5.5 million to 4 million for the fiscal year; it only ended up selling 3.5 million. EA is dialing back support and Ubisoft announced at E3 they will not be creating anymore exclusives for the console unless sales increase.

While they are putting out major franchise games (Smash Bros. For example), is it enough to get people to buy? For some, yes. I’m not going to say I don’t know at least 3 people who have told me they will buy a Wii U just for that game alone and I believe them because I’ve known them to be big Nintendo fans. A couple are die hard and will follow Mario and friends to the end of the earth.

I was one of those people too, for years. So before you think I’m anti-Nintendo get this; every console I owned on my own was a Nintendo console. I say “on my own” because all systems prior to the N64 in our household were really my brother’s (Genesis, NES and Turbografx 16).  When I was old enough to branch off and do my own gaming thing I had an N64, then GameCube, then Wii. I only bought my Xbox 360 about 4 years ago. And the PlayStation 4 will be my first official Sony console.

But I’ve seen the change over the years. The innovation of the Wii U just isn’t there. There’s nothing particularly outstanding about the console. Taking a look back at the Wii, it had poor releases in later years, with only stand outs coming from it’s popular franchises like Zelda and Donkey Kong. Ports to the Wii were, for the most part, abysmal. Other third party exclusives were just alright at best.

But if we take away the Nintendo console, what will happen to having an option for the younger set, casual gamer, families, you cry?! They’re options wouldn’t disappear if things were done right. You could still have your same genres, just reflected on other consoles. Turn existing consoles into true well rounded ones, giving options to all, not alienating gamer types (not that I think they are all that exclusive, but  it’d be even less so).

Think about a suped up Zelda on PlayStation or a decent Metroid you can play smoothly with an Xbox controller (and forgetting Other M every happened). Think about not having to abandon your Nintendo favorites because the console doesn’t have enough to offer overall, to be worth the cost. Or on the other hand, not dishing out cash for a console because you want to play three games coming out in the next 3 years.

Sure, Sonic sort of died when Sega  abandoned consoles but was that due to the change or due to a lack in development? Nintendo loves their franchises enough to make sure they don’t falter. And just because they’d be taken to other consoles doesn’t mean we’d all of a sudden have Zelda: Gears of War edition. They wouldn’t let the franchises change to harshly because they wouldn’t have to.

Now, truthfully the only way this would work is if others stepped in to the console race. I think people would be upset if they felt they only had two choices, if the industry was dwindling. PC is always an option, I game on a home built one so no hate there, but I’m looking strictly at consoles. Though with rumors of Google getting into consoles (though it may be another Ouya, way things are sounding) it could just open up the race to other, new companies.

But, they love their money enough to keep making consoles. And maybe eventually they’ll come out with something that wows us all. And maybe there is plenty enough left to go on to keep making consoles, for now. But I personally think if they don’t grab a foothold soon, it might be the way to go.

Maybe I just really want a console where I can get all the different kinds of gaming experiences I want in one place. Is that so much to ask?

Nintendo would be pretty nifty as just developers. As I said to a co-worker today, the world is ready for it, they just don’t know it yet.

17 thoughts on “Why Nintendo Should Become the Next Sega

  1. I mostly agree with this. I wouldn’t be saddened to learn one day that Nintendo switches to third party development. I really think that despite the commercial success, that the Wii wasn’t as innovative as it initially seemed, and I think the Wii U doesn’t even seem it.

    After all, where is motion gaming today? Sony has seemed to abandoned trying to sell the PS Move, and while Microsoft is doubling down on Kinect, they seem more interested in using it as a means of interface control than actually implementing it into games. I do honestly believe that in five years we’ll look back at the Wii era and see motion gaming as this bubble of novelty that we enjoyed and moved on from.

    On top of that, Nintendo has long now shifted their focus away from keeping up with the other consoles on the market. Forget the bleeding edge, they aren’t even concerned about the cutting edge. The result is some pretty poor third party support. Why would a major publisher take the time to downscale and adapt their game for a system like the WiiU when they’ll have two very similar platforms, which both happen to be on a very PC-like architecture?

    That said, Nintendo has never dipped when it comes to the quality of their games. They’ve always been fantastic and they’re still fantastic. It’s why the mantra for the most part when it comes to the Wii-U is that you buy it for the first party games.

    So why add that pay wall? Why make the consumer get another console to hook up for one publishers game library? It seems so backwards. I would love to buy the next Mario Kart or Zelda on a PS4 or Xbox.

    That applies to consoles in general. Exclusives are only going to hold the medium back by forcing consumers to pick and choose what they can experience (or spend a ton of money to experience it all). Can you imagine having to pick between three BluRay players? They all play some blurays, but Disney bluray’s only work on one, paramount blurays only work on another, and Sony Picture blurays only work on the third. It’d be a joke, and no self-respecting studio would think that such a setup would be more profitable for their business. Yet we do it generation after generation with games.

    Finally just a note, this all applied to consoles. I think Nintendo is pretty safe in the handheld space. The crazy thing is that I think Nintendo suffers from the same issues with handhelds, the only difference is that unlike the console space, they’re not pitted against two competent competitors in the handheld market. Sony has their own slew of issues with the Vita.

    • Yeah I mean, their sales for the 3DS are still strong. What’s funny is, the Vita sales are actually crushing the WiiU. So, there’s proof in the pudding.

      Essentially want you want is freedom of exclusivity… “why can’t we all just love/play games on each other?!”

      I’m down with that. Except in a less creepy-sounding way.

  2. I think it’s still too early to call the Wii-U a flop. Nintendo will certainly have to do something this holiday season to breath some more life into it, but right now is the hardest time for the console. Nintendo has a good line-up this holiday season, and if they can perhaps do a new bundle with Super Mario 3d World or (god forbid) a price drop, I think you’ll see the Wii-U at least get a fighting chance. It won’t be the Wii, that’s almost for certain, but it’s still too early to call it a Dreamcast.

    As an early buyer of the Wii-U, I’m pretty convinced that the console can hold some promise. The Wii-U Gamepad can and will make for some great, innovative games down the line. Unfortunately we’re kind of stuck in Limbo at the moment.

    • OK, fair assessment. You’re right, it is early. But I’m also not saying Nintendo should turn around and do this in the next 6 months. I’m just thinking after the Wii-U, but before the next console. That’s definitely a few years down the line. But, maybe the Wii-U will make a big comeback. I’m just not entirely convinced of it, yet.

  3. I personally would leave to see Nintendo games on Playstation. My first console was a SNES and some of my favourite games ever were on the N64 but as I’ve grown older I have moved away from Nintendo, probably because I have always been more drawn to Playstation and they are generally better consoles. I do look at a lot of the exclusive games Nintendo release and wish they were on Playstation but instead they were on that abomination the Wii. It is selfish but I do hope to see some Nintendo games showing up on the PS4.

    • Yeah I mean, it wouldn’t be a move taken well if people felt they were being forced to choose between two options. But I think no matter what happens with Nintendo, we’re going to see more people in the console race in the next couple of years. Just seems to be going that way.

  4. Metroid on dual analogue eh? So u want to downgrade Nintendo games to Sony n M’soft standards. Seen Prime 3? PS4 n X1 will likely be more dual analogue gaming. And Pikmin 3 is jumping sales on WiiU several times over. With Nintendo being more successful than Sony n M’softs gaming divisions. They’re no where near going 3rd party. Was a very good article on that topic earlier in the year.
    It was slow, but WiiUs fortunes are just starting now with the major releases.

    With more devs suffering from the performance race, PS4 and X1 will probably become very underutilised hardware

    • Downgrade? no, not if Nintendo is still developing it. They wouldn’t let their games be downgraded. Just because you don’t love the dual analogue controls doesn’t make it a downgrade, that’s a pretty blanketed statement.

      Anyway, i was just speculating that i think it’d be a good move, but i agree that they aren’t anywhere near it. I was thinking more in the “a few years” kind of way and even then, it likely won’t happen.

  5. I agree but that is the main reason why nintendo make their own hardware , because they know everyone likes their first party games, giving gamers no other choice but to buy a Nintendo console. It wouldn’t surprise me if history repeats once again wii u outselling ps4 and xass …Its bussiness baby! I’ll stick with my wii u but I may buy a ps4 after a whole year.

  6. To explain why Wii U sales are abysmal, I think of the reasons why I haven’t bought one. I mean, I have an N64 and I bought the Wii on launch day. So why not the Wii U? The biggest reason is that I feel burned by the Wii. I had fun with Zelda and Metroid… and Mario maybe? And then a whole lot of nothing. The controls sounded cool and revolutionary at first but eventually I discovered that I didn’t want to play games by waving my arms everywhere. Also, the fact that Nintendo consoles can not play DVDs is a problem for me. Why not? So in addition to having a Wii U I would also need a DVD player and that’s a problem that just should not exist.

    As for Nintendo releasing on other consoles, I think it would make Nintendo even more successful. Nintendo games have always been very kid-friendly, which is something that the other console makers don’t have. If Nintendo brought their games to the Playstation, then suddenly there would be a bunch of new games that my kid could play and enjoy. Nintendo should stop with the gimmicky controllers and bring their games to the masses who are craving Nintendo games without having to play on a Nintendo console.

  7. What a bad idea. Nintendo sells the most hardware globally every month why would they.

    3ds was number one dude.

    And sega is a disaster, thats the way to kill them

    • They won’t until they’re financially forced to, much like Sega.

      You’re right though, the 3DS still sells well, and I think the handheld market is an exception to this opinion.

      Consoles are a different story. The 3DS might be selling like gangbusters, but the WiiU is consistently being outsold by Sony’s own flawed handheld, and in Japan no less. That’s a grim sign.

      Ultimately I don’t think the WiiU is failing enough to force them out of console market this or even next gen, but when you consider the performance of the WiiU, and the underlying causes of the performance, you see a trend that will lead to it if they don’t make corrections soon.

      They need to embrace more cutting edge technology. The WiiU is a boost over the 360 and PS3, but in just a few months from now it’ll once again be the weakest console of the generation.

      They need to embrace the standardization of the medium. Game budgets and ballooning, and a major way to deal with that is by being multiplatform. First parties can offset that by having a strong third party library, but the WiiU can’t do that if it literally can’t run next gen games. EA has already said they’re not planning to port next year’s games to the WiiU. Bad sign.

      Nintendo aren’t beyond salvation. They aren’t even on the brink of disaster. But they’re definitely showing signs that trend in a negative direction. Better to correct it now than before they reach their own Dreamcast point.

  8. Nintendos Wii U is pretty much dead and irrelevant. The 3rd party issue is not going away, as a matter of fact I wouldn’t be surprised if their lack of support continued on to their next console (which probably won’t ever be made)

    Nintendo should drop consoles and stick with their handhelds/smartphones.

  9. Pingback: Nintendo 64 struck by lightning | N64 Squid

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